From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Johann Opitz)
Justice Dept. Wins Wiretap Authority
The Justice Department has broad discretion in the use of wiretaps and other surveillance techniques to track suspected terrorists and spies, a federal appeals court panel ruled Monday. In a 56-page opinion overturning a May decision by the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the three-judge panel said the expanded wiretap guidelines sought by Attorney General John Ashcroft under the new USA Patriot Act law do not violate the Constitution. The special review court ordered the lower court to issue a new ruling giving the government the powers it seeks. The spy court's restrictions, according to the ruling, "are not required by (the law) or the Constitution." Ashcroft said the decision "revolutionizes our ability to investigate terrorists and prosecute terrorist acts."
Alabama Chief Justice Ordered to Remove Ten Commandments
A Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of Alabama's judicial building violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion, a federal judge ruled Monday. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had had the 5,300-pound granite monument installed in the state building, 30 days to remove it.
Supreme Court to Hear Campaign Finance Case
The Supreme Court said Monday it will consider whether some interest groups should be allowed to contribute to federal candidates and parties, which could open a fresh avenue of political giving as a new campaign finance law closes another. Currently, only individuals, political parties, political action committees and other campaigns can contribute to federal candidates and national party committees. In the case before the high court, North Carolina Right to Life contends that it and other tax-exempt, not-for-profit advocacy groups who rely on individual donors rather than business or union money also should be free to make political contributions.
House green lights major enviro bill
Legislation approved in final minutes, opponents work for defeat in Senate
Literally minutes before adjourning for the year, the House of Representatives without debate unanimously approved a $261 million-a-year legislative grab bag of goodies for environmentalists and their allies in government, and sent it to the Senate for final approval. Co-authored by Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Bob Smith, R-N.H., The American Wildlife Enhancement Act - S 990 - provides the wherewithal for massive land acquisition by state government agencies and non-profit groups, boosts the powers and status of the environmental organizations, and enacts a major amendment to the 1973 Endangered Species Act by adding a new designation - "species at risk" - to the familiar "threatened" and "endangered" categories. The establishment and expansion of several national wildlife refuges and a five-year rodent control program are thrown in for good measure. The congressman responsible for its passage by the House Friday was Rep. James Hansen, R-Utah. Although Hansen headed the H!
ouse Resources Committee, to which the bill was assigned after it passed the Senate in December, he held no hearings on it. Instead, he kept it on a back shelf until 2:22 a.m. Friday, when he asked that the Resources Committee be discharged from further consideration of the bill and that it be placed on the calendar for a vote. Three minutes later - with major sections stripped from it - S 990 was on its way to the Senate. The same tactic was used for 14 other bills submitted for last-minute approval. Each was labeled non-controversial, placed on the consent calendar, voted upon, and sent to the Senate.
CRISIS: Midnight Land Grab
S. 990 - The "Son of CARA" - a version of CARA - the Condemnation and Relocation Act - is on the fast track and moving through Congress! This discredited land grab bill had not moved for eleven months, until the dark of night in the wee hours of Friday morning. ONCE AGAIN, selected members of Congress have moved legislation - S. 990 - in the dead of night that will
1) Make the Endangered Species Act EVEN WORSE,
2) Permit SEIZURE of private property, and
3) Hand out cash to environmental extremists and animal rights outfits!
Oh yes, and 4) it hands out up to $25 million to foreign countries for land acquisition. We couldn't make this up, folks!
Property taxes rising dramatically
To homeowners' dismay, cash-strapped communities across the US are raising rates, sometimes by double digits. Lehigh County is building a new 36-bed juvenile detention facility. The county prison is full, and the courts are so backed up that this eastern Pennsylvania community will add a 10th judge. Faced with such increased expenses, which have led to a $30 million shortfall, County Executive Jane Ervin has proposed raising property taxes by 70 percent - hardly a popular move with residents. "If I had proposed no tax increase in the budget, there would have been just as many angry people since services would have been cut," says the first-term Republican.
The Eye Is Watching
In J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastic work of fiction, The Lord Of The Rings, the dark lord Sauron, not yet able to maintain a physical form, attempting to dominate middle earth, is depicted as an evil eye. Able to penetrate time, space, and the human mind, the evil force sought to dominate "Middle Earth". In a bizarre and frightening case of life imitating art, the United States defense department has created an office that seeks those same limitless powers as Tolkien's dark lord. The Information Awareness Office (IAO) seeks what it calls "Total Information Awareness". The agency has even adopted the new world order symbol of the pyramid with the all knowing eye hovering above it that is seen on the back of a one dollar Federal Reserve note. Taking the symbolism a step further, the eye casts its rays down upon the planet earth. Any reasonable American citizen, regardless of political ideology, with the exception of pure left wing totalitarians, must find a visit to the IAO websi!
te < http://www.darpa.mil/iao/ > a chilling experience. It is like something out of a sci-fi horror movie, only, it is real. The agency's web site clearly outlines goals for implementing a police state. The IAO mission statement claims that it will "counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness useful for preemption; national security warning; and national security decision making."
Spanglish textbooks! What kind of locura is this?
First it was Ebonics, now it's to be Spanglish - enough already. Que pasa with some of our educators? Taking two beautiful languages and making them into a combined dialect is a mite too mucho. This article's title and first two sentences have no Spanglish, it is just pochismos. But for educators to accept pochismo, Spanglish or bad English or bad Spanish is nothing more than surrendering to mediocrity; giving up on the discipline required to attain education and proper communication. ... Along the US-Mexico border, the influence of Mexican Americans whose Spanish and English mastery is not complete, began the habit of just taking English words and converting them into Spanish - thus we have such jewels as 'marketa' for market (mercado); 'troca' for truck (camion), 'yonke' for junk; and verbs like 'mopear' to mop. That is Spanglish, but because it may have wide usage, does not mean it should become acceptable either Spanish or English, anymore than bad English grammar usag!
e such as 'they was' or 'we was' also widely used. ... Giving students the idea that Spanglish is acceptable, instead of teaching them proper languages, is to doom their ability in the future to properly communicate with the close to 500 million other Spanish speakers in the Western Hemisphere. Spanglish is not a dialect, it is nothing more than bad language usage, and should remain that way. ...
Ruling: Cybercops need a hack warrant
A federal judge has ruled that law enforcement officials went too far when they tried to use evidence gathered by a known hacker to convict someone of possessing child pornography. The decision, handed down earlier this month, is believed to be the first to say that hacking into an Internet-connected home PC without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. "This makes it clear that law enforcement needs a search warrant to do this," said Orin Kerr, an associate professor at George Washington University Law School. Kerr said the ruling was the first of its kind.
MI: MCRGO to File Suit Against Detroit
The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners announced today its intention to file suit against the City of Detroit over the recently enacted ban on legally concealed firearms in public buildings. "We expect to have the lawsuit filed within the next several days", said Jeff Lemon, Chairman of the Wayne County Chapter of MCRGO. "We have no qualms at all about suing when recalcitrant elected officials enact ordinances that violate state law."
AZ: Changing orders for police shootings
General Order #106
To: Valley police departments.
Subject: Shootings of citizens.
Policy: This policy is intended to ensure officers avoid negative situations that can arise from discharging their weapons into citizens. It is being re-stated and re-issued in light of the firing of former Chandler Officer Dan Lovelace. He was dismissed from the force after an Oct.11 shooting involving Dawn Rae Nelson, a White female, now deceased.
In conjunction with the issuance of this General Order, it has also been considered wise to issue the following:
General Order #106-A.
Subject: Uninvolved officers' response to police shootings.
A federal agency confirms that it maintains an air-travel blacklist of 1,000 people. Peace activists and civil libertarians fear they're on it.
America's Transformation from Liberty to Democracy
If we were able to go back to the time of the Revolutionary War and ask the typical American to describe, in one word, the underlying principle of the new American government, that one word would have been liberty. If we were to ask the typical American citizen today to describe, in one word, the underlying principle of American government, that one word would be democracy. The Declaration of Independence is largely a list of grievances against the King of England, and the American Founders wanted to escape the oppression of the British government and establish a constitutionally limited government to protect the rights of its citizens - to preserve their liberty. Today Americans view the role of their government as carrying out the will of the majority. My new book, From Liberty to Democracy: The Transformation of American Government (University of Michigan Press) describes how the fundamental principle of American government has been transformed from liberty to democracy!
Many Great Libertarian Ideas, But it Still Comes Down To The One
Some people are still afraid of the Libertarian idea of gun-ownership. The idea of all people in America having the right to carry any weapon of their choice, brings up visions of mass shootings and warlike scenes in the streets of America. It is, and will continue to be, difficult to convince people who see unfettered gun ownership this way to vote Libertarian based upon this idea. We Libertarians know and have the proof that in states that have the least restrictions on gun ownership that rates of crimes involving gun violence and overall rates of crime are greatly reduced, and places like Washington DC that have the greatest restrictions on gun ownership have the highest rates of gun violence, but this is not enough to alleviate their fears. They have been sold a bill of goods and they are convinced. ... We Libertarians have an ace in the hole though, our trump card, and it is something that is inherent in the human spirit. We have a simple base idea that no other poli!
tical party has anything like. All the other political parties have to rely on complex ideas working in a more or less unified fashion with greater and greater government oversight to function, while Libertarians have a modest model that sums up what we believe in and how we see our vision of a well functioning, peaceful and just society. We Libertarians trust the people to do what is right and that is why we trust them with all the power. Not just the power of government, but the power to govern themselves. No other political party can honestly say that they trust the people and it is because they do not base their philosophy of government on the idea that: "All People Have The Right To Live Their Lives In Whatever Manner They Choose, Without Any Government Interference, As long As They Do Not Infringe On The Equal Rights Of Others To Do The Same." I believe that as long as Libertarians continue to stress the inherent truth of our basic idea we will be able to help Americans !
get over their fears of less government. If we can plant the seeds of our idea in enough people then Americans will realize what Libertarians already know, and that is, that Americans have faith and decency enough to govern themselves.
Govt. Loans Go to Those Who Defaulted
The borrowers seeking a government-backed small business loan couldn't have a more dismal history: four previous defaults that cost taxpayers $440,000. Despite that record, the Small Business Administration granted the same borrowers another loan. They defaulted again, this time costing the agency another $667,500.
Johann Opitz < email@example.com > RKBA!